executive associate commissioner and chief of external affairs, Atlantic Coast Conference
The Clemson University grad is helping oversee big changes this year at the collegiate athletic conference, which partnered with ESPN to launch the ACC network, which plans to televise 1,300 events a year. The runup to its August start was marred by tough contract negotiations with some cable and satellite providers. TV rules at the ACC, where revenue increased 17% to $465 million last year. About 60% of that total came from TV contracts. Yakola joined the ACC in 1999 and worked in public relations and marketing jobs before taking her current post in 2014. She’s the highest-ranking woman at the ACC, earning more than $280,000 a year.